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ELECTIONS BY PLI RALITY, – ILALLLIT - ASPINWALL-GRAY-KEIES.

{May 27th.

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not say t'at I shall not be in favor of having all cant wall be necesary for a choice, and the elec- } support cittain candidates tsat miy be put in those officers elected by a plurality vote.

tion of all ot er officers wall be by a majority or | omntion by one of tie parties; when we have My own juryment is t' at the action of the plurality of vote, title levialaturi skall d.lr- no core of atord camlardate? Will you force ('ommittee wich reportedl t' is resolve shoull muine, unless ot erwise splnily provided for in so great a burly of the poo, le of Mandiusitts have been contined to those otheer who are now the ('ontution."

intile de mina og einning one of t:10% (WO recognized by tie Coutitution. If otser o.firs Mr. BlTLER, of lowell. I would like to (vils: Is tat repulleni Ves, Sir, curly shall be cruited by the new Constitution, we cam alte restleman troru North Broolield, Jr. torty t'u sand voters of this State have, for then, when t'iat is dividil, determine w.itier it Wher,) Wt the difredse ins lowern his a les yeur, reind tie candidates of the two is expedient to bring them under the operation of amendment anti prenesit t'on-titution.

1.tional parties is pertortly beyond, and one side this propoeul principle, or apply to them some Mr. Divis, of l'lymouti. I would surat of their having anyt aing to do with then. Trove otlier principle.

wretuer the analyucut olin by the gentle m.in candidates wire all of one stripe. They have d. I wr-tand the punition of te qu.-tion : upon my riz'it, does not include all such new represented principles whici I consider it inbure tie ('autore, there is an analment Our ds in be provided for by the new (on- ta.no:1» to support. wrica pro, wo set to excludd from the ortion of stitution, and tireore firing in that rep«t Now, tied, the action of these parties is to force this system, the governor, lieutrint-ruvernor, fron te pressit iustitution.

a new order of things upon the sto; le of Vasaseyret.ury o'st:ite, attorney-general and au litor of Mr. ILILLETT. I wish to answer the ques- cutts, and to prevent t.ese third parties from tre ("on to Avealth, and senators and members tiva sie my friend from North Brooksield has exercising, with any practical erfict, the rig'.t of of the house; which is the promition pro otrl by not answered. The question, as I understand it, suffrage. Why, Sir, when the two great parties tje gintlein in from Plymouth. Well, Sir, then is this-Wat is the diference between that anucunda netit to place tiemclves in a position in which there comes a further am 'ndınent wrich provil.no ment and tie present constitution: The dilir- a tind purty cannot agree, whether from good or that certain officer, siall be co-en by a ruj brity ence is tis, tut tie majority princijde is to be bad motives, I think that tiird party ought to vote. My proprit on woull be, should time ay iliend to all those oficers wio are elected to have some way by which it can express its hosamendments be laid aside, to introduce an umeud. ' muhe your law, and t'iat to otier otficers, t:c tility. Now, Sir, the effict of adopting tiis plumint as a substitute for tre or siad relve princijsle of plurality, or any other priacijle rality sy-te'm, it' there be any purpome at all in intr.) lied by t're Gonnttis. For tie pure

waci t'ie ligouduture may think proir, may be ado; ting it, is to force upon a large portion of the of intrinition, I will raltie am"adn't at t'ie , appl.el.

pe le of Java0.11-etts a government in which present tine.

It is as follows: Strike at all Mr. BUTLER. My question is, what is the they are compelled to have no voice, or to adopt aiter te word “relve," aul insert the follow- difference between this proposition and t'ie (on- wiat their consciences do not approve. Now, ing: “That it is exxe licnit 50 to amend t're stitution as it now stund? The Constitution Sir, in t':at a principle worthy of being followed in Constitution as to provide tiat tre persons re- 110w provides tor te ekrtion of governor, lieu- tvin ('onvention. But t?is plurality principle is spectively having te bizde«t number of votes for tenant- overnor, and senators, by a majority. called a democratic principle. Who ever heard governoranllieutenant-u) crior, shall be electeil, What is the diference?

of such a t'iing before. I do not deny that it is but in case two or more shall have an equal and Ur. ISPISTILL, of Brookline. I would

democratic, for I profers to know nothing about t'ie higiest number of votes for governor and ask the gentleman from Lowell if he will point democracy in the modern acceptation of the term. lieutnant-yvernor, the Senate and llone of out a provision in the Constitution which requires I do not know what principles the democratic R presentatives shall meet in convention, and te representatives to the general court to be

party may have adopted of late, and I do not choose one of the said persons so having an equal elected by a majority? I have often heard it said know but this may be one of them; I do not and the hig'est number of votes for governor and that such was the fact, but I believe it is not, and deny that it is, but it seems to me a strange demolieutenant-governor, and the person having t'ie therefore this proposition differs from the present cratic doctrine. highest munber of votes in convention of the two Constitution, ina-much as it includes the repre- Now, Sir, there has been one gubernatorial Ilouses shall be clerted."

sentatives under tie majority principle, while election referred to repeatedly in this Convention, And I propose another similar one, mutatis the present t'onstitution does not.

where it was said the minority candidate was mu'anlis, in reference to the elertion of senators Mr. GRIY, of Boston. Tie gentleman from elected under the majority system. We all know in t'e several districts,

Brookline is right. The present Constitution this reference is to the election of George S. If these otier amendments s'all be rejected by under which we live, does not provide, in terms, Boutwell in 1851. But, Sir, if there was ever the Committee, and the amendments I have read trat te majority or plurality system shall pre- a governor elected who was the choice of a mato the Committee shall pass, I suppose it would vail, as to representatives, but only that they shall jority of the people, that man was George S. then be in order to extend tie application of this be chosen by the voters of the towns. So that it

Boutwell. I was a member of the Senate at that principle to members of congress, to the secretary, provides for a majority vote, if it provides at all, time, and voted against him upon the first ballot treasurer, attorney-general, and such other officers by implication, and not by direct terms. But I

but I voted for him upon the second ballot, and not as we know now exist.

am inclined to think that it does provide for a one single constituent of mine who voted for me I think, that by taking into consideration, in majority vote, but only by implication.

has ever said I voted upon that occasion differentthe first instance, that class of officers, in reier- Mr. KETES, for Abmgton. It was not stated ly from what he had expected or wished. Ile ence to which tie greatest dificulty has heretofore in tủe Constitution whether the representatives was their choice.

When they found they could been experienced, and uniting ujxon thoxe, it will shall be chosen by a majority or by a plurality, be- not have the man they originally wanted they be essier tien to extend the principle to otiers cause it was supposed that our form of government preferred George S. Boutwell to any other man. which may be create'il, than to take the general required a majority. It was taken for granted They elected him, and no man was ever more and unc'rtain language of the ('on-titution as to

thut in the election of our rulers, they were to be thoroughly backed by a majority of the people. other officers who may be created.

elected by a majority. In the book which I have A great deal has been said about these second (Cries of " question,” “ question.'']

before me, the Debates of tlie Convention of trials; that questions were not settled by a maThe CILARMAN, (Mr. Sumner,) then stated 1820, I find these words, upon which my eye jority of the voters because a large portion of the question to be upon the amendment offered chanced to light while this debate has been going them do not go to the polls. Why, they help to by the gentleman from Plymouth.

on : “ It is the principle of every free goverument settle the question just as much by staying away The question was taken thereon, and the

that the majority should rule. When the laws as by voting. We are bound to suppose in that amendment was not agreed to.

are made by a minority, whether it be one or a case that those who stay away do it either from The question then recurring upon the original

hundred, it is tyranny.” That was the universal indifference, or because they can see but little resolve, sentiment of that Convention.

difference between the several candidates, and we Mr. WALKER offered the amendment hereto

But it seems to be inferred here, that because a are bound to suppose that half are in favor of one fore mentioned by the gentleman from Worcester,

certain other party has Sprung into existence, candidate and half in favor of the other so that

which secins (Mr. Knowlton,) as follows: strike out all after

to be giving somebody so much when a candidate receives a majority of all the word “ resolve," and insert, “ that in the

troulle, they must get rid of it. What are we to the votes cast he is just as much elected by a maelection of governor, lieutenant-governor, senators

do with the thirty or forty thousand voters jority of all the voters as if he had actually

of Massachusetts, who consider it an infamy to and representatives, a majority of all the votes

received their votes. I do not know from the

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ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY. - KEYES - TRAIN.

[May 27th.

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now.

smiles which I see upon some countenances but this is very wild doctrine, but it is what I believe to be the truth.

Now, it seems to me that the effect of these resolves, is to change our government from a republican government. If a republican government is not that which receives the sanction of a majority of the people, what is it? This proposition is to change our form of government and to declare that the republican form of government in Massachusetts is not that sanctioned by the majority of the people. Sir, I want to know where such a form of government was ever heard of and what is the name of it: It seems to me that from the very formation of the government, this majority principle has been regarded as one of the fundamental principles of the government, a principle from which we have never duviated, and which, in the Conventions heretofore held for the purpose of revising our Constitution, has never been disputed. But, Sir, there has been a degeneracy in politics not only in Massachusetts but in nearly all the States, and propositions are now made and looked upon with perfect indifference by men who a few years ago would have started at the mention of such a thing. I believe there are men in this Convention who now favor this plurality system, who, had it been proposed to them four years ago, would have considered it as the most dangerous radicalism. It has never been acted upon or favored in Massachusetts until a very recent period, by the party which now seems almost unanimously to be in favor of it. It is true there are exceptions. I confess that there are persons who act with me in most matters, who have generally been in favor of this proposition, but I have never been in favor of it.

Gentlemen have alluded to the influence of this third party in preventing men from being sent to congress, and districts from being represented there. Well, Sir, have we suffered from it ? How many thousand times had it been better if we had not been represented there? We have sent men to congress, who, instead of asserting and maintaining our rights, have surrendered them. How infinitely better, if this same third party influence, of which gentlemen complain so much, had operated in their cases to keep them at home? Sir, the people would much rather have silence in our national legislature, so far as that representation is concerned; they would rather trust to the generosity and liberality of their enemies, than to send men there to maintain their rights who will prove recreant to the trust, and who will surrender those rights. They would rather not be represented at all than to be misrepresented. It is not such a great thing to have a blank in our representation in congress. I would much rather have a blank than to have it filled by a man who will not maintain his rights, and represent properly the wishes of his constituents, whatever they may be.

Mr. CROWNINSIIIELD, of Boston. If the gentleman will permit me to interrupt him, I desire to inquire whether these recreant members of congress, of whom he speaks, were not those elected under the majority system :

Mr. KEYES. Some of them were, but they were mostly sent by a plurality. In the allusions I made to the congress of the United States, however, I referred not to members sent from Massachusetts exclusively, but to those sent from

all the northern States where the plurality system I do not know when the last president was chosen generally prevails in their election.

by a majority of the people of this confederacy. Mr. LAWTON, of Fall River, moved that the Mr. BUTLER, of Lowell. At the last presiCommittee do now rise, report progress, and ask dential election. leave to sit again.

Mr. TRAIN. When was the last one before The question being taken, the motion was not him? agreed to.

Mr. BUTLER. In 1840. Mr. TRAIN, of Framingham. I have thus far Mr, TRAIN. Very well, then ; we have had taken no part in this debate, nor do I desire to do so two presidents in the last fifteen years who were

I simply rise for the purpose of suggesting chosen by a majority, but when out of New - which I shall do before I sit down-an amend

England, have the presidential electors been ment to the amendment of the gentleman from chosen by the majority. Sir, the practice has Plymouth.

become universal, out of New England, to choose I must confess, Sir, that I have been some- the presidential electors by a plurality. New what suprised at what mine eyes have seen, and York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, all mine cars have heard, in this body, upon this choose their presidential electors by plurality, and question. I had come down here from the country, will any gentleman tell me that those States act fresh in the belief that there was but one opinion upon an anti-democratic principle? Then upon among the people in every part of the State, in what principle, upon what ground, can you tell relation to changes which should be made in me that the majority alone is the democratic printhe Constitution of the Commonwealth ; and one ciple. I should be glad if I could support that of those changes, I had been led to believe, was principle, if it is the only democratic one; but the that contemplated by these resolves, which have

experience of the years during which we have lived been reported by the Committee. I believe still under the present Constitution of Massachusetts, that this is one of the changes which the people of has demonstrated to me that we should no longer the Commonwealth are nearly unanimous in de- seek to perpetuate the principle adopted by the siring. My friend from Malden, (Mr. Perkins,) founders of that Constitution. Now, I need not stated a literal fact to-day,-nearer the truth than repeat to gentlemen that we have minority officers any they have heard,—when he said that the in this Commonwealth. Every-body knows it; people desire the plurality principle. I believe and every-body knows that we have minority ofthat to be true. But when, in the course of this ficers because the majority system is adhered to. discussion, I have heard gentlemen, whom I have Is there any other reason ? Almost all the othknown for a long time, and who have been ces in the Commonwealth have been run through struggling for years to bring about a remedy by to show the effect of this majority principle by which a portion of the people of the Common- different gentlemen ; but there is one election wealth shall not be disfranchised in our popular which has not been mentioned, to which I beg elections, and when I have seen these gentlemen leave to refer gentlemen for a moment; and that in this Convention, turn right about face, whether is our very spring election which we have held at the command of military or other gentlemen since March last, for our county commissioners. I know not, I confess I am somewhat surprised. And I ask gentlemen to tell me of any officer Sir, what is it that has been conceded to be the in the Commonwealth of larger powers save that proposition of the most importance? What has of the Supreme Court? They are officers with been the strongest argument used before the peo- powers to affect the rights of every man, and yet ple of Massachusetts for calling this Convention within a week, you have had appointed commisIt has been the necessity for this very change. sioners in at least six counties, by your governor, That has been urged with more force and effec- who I apprehend had not one of them received a tiveness than any other argument. Then I must plurality of votes. That has been the effect of your look somewhere else for an explanation of this majority system in electing these county commisopposition which has sprung up in this Conven- sioners; and I apprehend you cannot find a tion to this proposed change. Has there been stronger illustration of the working of that sysany reason suggested here why we should adhere tem to place the power in the hands of the mito the majority system, which drives us year after nority. year to the election of minority candidates for But my friend from Lowell, (Mr. Butler,) intithe highest offices of the Commonwealth ? 1 have mated that he might be willing to elect some offiheard none. My friend who has just taken his

cers but that he was not willing to elect them all seat, (Mr. KEYES,) has said that the majority by plurality, and, therefore, he hoped the Conprinciple is the democratic principle, and that the vention would vote down the resolves and leave plurality system is not democratic. Sir, where the matter to be settled in relation to each officer does he derive that information?

as the case should come up. He was afraid we Mr. KEYES. I have said that I had heard it

might forestall ourselves by adopting these reasserted that the plurality was the democratic solves, and he preferred leaving it an open question principle, but that as I knew very little about to adopt the majority or the plurality principle in democracy, I would not undertake to say wheth- each case, as the Convention might see tit to deterer the assertion was correct or not.

mine. Now, can that gentleman show me any Mr. TRAIN. Very well. I did not know distinction in principle, or any good reason why but my friend might, through his associations, one officer should be elected by a majority and have learned, by this time, something of what de

another by a minority. I understand the amendmocracy is. (Laughter.] I think the plurality ment of the gentleman from North Brookfield, principle is the democratic principle. We have

(Mr. Walker,) contemplates exempting a certain not had a president of the United States, for

class from the plurality principle, and of subjecting years, who has not been chosen by a plurality. others to it. Now can that gentleman show me But I am not so well verscd in political matters any difference in principle, unless it be a political as the gentleman from Worcester, (Mr. Davis). distinction, which should excmpt one office froin Friday,]

ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY.-KEYTS - TRAIN - WILSON.

(May 27th.

the plurality principle and subject another to it? I can see hone. I do not t'ink the officers in the executive branch of the government should be clected upon one princi; le, and the lezi lative upon another, for I do not think one is of any more consequence than the ot'.cr.

My friend says that we ought not to tie the ha nds of the people. We prove to untie them if we can. Now they must vote by the majority principle. We say let t'uis proposition be submittul to the people tiiat they may have an opportunity of mutying their hands, if they desire it. My friend suizzests that they do not believe in the plurality syutem, and that they will vote tie proposition down. I any body harmel: I apprrhen that the people of Vazeitstis know quite at will even as their delegates, their own Wunts, and it seems to me that utk men who have tuhen the opposite side of tiis question are the very last men who vull di trust the people upon this 912-tiul. If they vote clown t'ie propesition of the Committee, we still adhere to the good old puths, and stand by the monuments of our fatiers. We have changed nothing, and the good old ('omnionwealth proceeds as here to ore. If they choose to adopt the plurality synte'm they can turn arcund and y to the Conventiontiat we sent you down to give you a chance to its upon this question which you will wi.en you called t'e Convention, wax nuore inportant t'... all other questions, and which you gave to us is a rea on wly we should have a conventioni, lut yet wica you get down there you are afraid to give us an opportunity to pass upon the very pro;yo ition w!hich you said in your report, was of vital importance. But I will not dwell upon matters which have been so often suggested. I wish to a-k gentlemen wiro propose to a there to the old system of voting for governor and your other officers-I ask gentlemen who propose to adhere to the old way of voting for governor and all your other oiliers, this question: If it is important t'at your governor should be elected by a majority of votes, will you do your elves and tire people the honor of giving them the right, after you meet in Convention, of voting for that candidate who has the highest number of votes. You cannot get a result under the present ystem of voting. You want a majority candidate and if you cannot get that, you desire to get its near to it as you can. Now I a-k gentlemen if when they meet in ('ouvention, and they find there is one candidate who has twenty thousand votes, and another who has sixty thousand, and another who has eighty thousand, they will pledge themselves to vote for the one who has the largest number. I apprehend that the past experience slows that t'ie course has been to take that cud late who has the least number of votes. Instead of taking the man who has the highest number of votes, you liave taken the one who has not even a plurality. Will gentlemen test their proposition by that? I think it is a fair test. My friend for Abington, looks av pleasantly as we did while he was speaking. I was then delighted with the carnest:ness and freshness with which he spoke. There is a power and a vitality about everyting he does, which always wins my re

Mr. KEYES. If the gentleman will allow me a moment, I will say that I am very sorry t:at he did not pay more attention to my remarks; if they pleased liiin so much, because I showed satisfætorily, that supposing one candidate has

eizity thousand votes, and anotier sixty thou-
sun, and another t'irty thousand, tre are
ninety thousand voter against the eig ty tinh,
who would protir some other than the candidate
wio recived t'ie eixity thousand vote, and yet
the man who has digity thousand votes in cafeted,
witi a majority of teu tiound against him.

Ur. TRAIN. I understand the j ropuition of
the grntleman for Abin ton. I have heard it
$117mmtend before upon this floor, and it may ixe
that a wonator or representative may be pukeskueel in
his pon tituents to vote for a camilate who in
rilied upon to advocate one line of policy, and
t'at his duty to his continents, when in tie
Senate camer, woull require him to vote for
tire man who would carry out that picy, but
if the mail wlo W. expnitel to pursue one line
of policy aljts one totally siitfirent, t.on the
people my expert ari ili rent coun' on tie jurt
of their deleite. What I dire in to relieve that
class of people, so that whenever they get more
votes for that min t'ian citier of the other two
gentlemen, they may not be driven to the dilemma
of choosing lxts('n two Juchner, That is the
prosition rich I want to get at.

Mr. KEYES. Tien I agree with the member from Fruning'ium.

Mr. TRAIN. Ixactly. We are driving at the same rewalt, and I 110, toad the gentleman in accom;linling it. I diire to let the will of the peo, be arrival at without the winery of the legislature, wiic worlus out a result cutirely contrary to that which the larger portion of the peo;le wish for.

Now we are told--to go back for a single moment-in passing, that it is not democratie, that it has not been adopted by the people. We were toll so by the gentleman from Worcester this morning, that they adopt, in their primary conventions and national conventions, a ditfurent rule, which, in the eloquent language of some gentlemen, sends dough faces and reptiles to congress, Ilow do you then accomplish any thing by adhering to it? We have had an experience on this subject, if we may believe the gentleman for Abington, which has operated most disastrou-ly to the cause which he advocates, and I would harılly deny it. But let me say to the gentleman that that place which represents the democracy of the nation, if I may be allowed to speak of it--and I will do it with all the respect which that place is entitled to-adopts a rule forced upon that convention, not by the friends of my friend for Abington, by a class of people who hold utterly and entirely different views; I mean the two-third rule which was alluded to by the gentleman froin Lowell, (Mr.Butler,) this morning, a rule which I really hoped my friend and those who act with him, would be the first to try to subvert. But when we seek for democracy we should seek it from some place not governed by slave-holders, but where men have a different idea of liberty from that which is common among gentlemen educated south of the line referred to by the gentleman the other day. It seems to me that my friends about me, who oppose the change in the Constitution with regard to the majority principle, cli-trust the people, that they are afraid to allow the people to pass upon this question, that they propose to get their hands tied upon it for fear they will adopt a principle which they think may be disastrous to the cause of freedom and constitutional liberty.

Sow I wish to test te views of the gentlemen in our other way, El.ey are afraid to leave iis mitor to the pupile, I propose that they

. kave it to the linlature. Where they cannot go tu t'e source, let them go as near to the fouuut in as they can; it we cannot get the pxople to ]%1** l,un tieque-tion, we will leave it in the halils of the begi-lature, and thurefore I propose an amendment to the amendment offered by the IL mb r from North Broohtield, to this effect, that all civil olicus wowe ok etion shall be provided for in the Con-titution may be elected by a mujority or ly a plurality, as the lezi-luture shall herver diurmine. Jy idra is, that instead of leaving a portion of tic officers to be clected by the limidature, as sugiented by the member foula Vita Brook tickl, to leave the wiole to the leisture.

The (ILAIRJAN ton stated the question as proposed by the men'x'r from Framingham.

Jr. WILSON, of Niatich I had not intended, Mr. President, to take any part in this debate. I dil not suppose that any reasons I could give woull iniluence the judgment of the Convention. But, sir, the gentleman from Framingham, (Mr. Train,) has indulged in some remarks I do not choose to let pass in silnce. That gen:leman expresses his surprise that gentlemen who have advocated the calling of this Convention, stand here now in oppo-ition to tie adoption of this plurality rule. Ile is astonished that gentlemchi should uchere to that good old democratic principle that the majority should govern — a principle adhered to in this Cominonn calth for more than two centuries. IIe aceuses gentlemen who have taken a leading part in calling this Cone vention of changing front--of following a military leal. Sir, if the gentleman from Framinghain, (Mr. Train,) understood better the precise position of affurs in this Commonwealth, he would not indulge in these reflections. If he understood the political affairs of Massachusetts for the past few years he would know that at least one portion of the people who have carried this Conventionmen whose zeal and advocacy have contributed in no slight degree to bring us here-have opposed it, now oppose it, and will continue to oppose it to the bitter end. Sir, I admit that some gentlemen whose labors have contributed to carry the Convention have advocated the plurality system—they now advocate it, and I regret to see that they mcan to continue their advocacy of it. But, Sir, I venture to say that a large majority of the men who carried this Convention in November last were then, and are now opposed to departing from the majority system and adopting the plurality rule in all our elections. lIad the gentleman from Framingham expressed his amazement at the strange change which has come over his political associates, who, a few years ago, clung to the majority system with all the tenacity of conviction, he would only have given expression to what all of us must feel as we witness the scenes around us.

The gentleman from Framingham does not understand how it is that this majority principle is considered by some of us as a democratic idea. Sir, I profess to be a democrat-I use the word in its true sense-yes, Sir, I process to be one of the • democratic democrats,” and, according to my poor comprehension, the rigat of the majority to rule is coextensive with the right to have govcrnment at all. It government exists at all among men, the American principle is that it exists by

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Friday,]

ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY. – WILSON.

[May 27th.

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democratic State in this Union—that personal rights, those rights which lie at the foundation of society, are more clearly comprehended, more fully recognized and better guarded than anywhere else in America. I do not wish to travel out of New England to learn democracy. When I do so, I shall not turn to that land

" Where the cant of democracy dwells on the lips

of the forgers of fotters and wielders of whips."

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the consent of the people—the majority of the people who alone can give that consent. The delegate for Wilbraham, (Mr. Hallett,) in his statesmanlike speech to-day-a speech not to be answered here or elsewhere-has placed this question before us in its true light. Whenever or wherever we depart from that idea, whether we adopt the plurality rule or any other rule which allows less than a majority to rule, we depart from that fundamental democratic principle, that American idea underlying all our American institutions. That Commonwealth that approaches the nerest to universal suffrage, and which requires the cousent of a majority of the people in the election of public servants, maintains in the most perfect manner the idea of a democratic Commonwealth. I disagree entirely, Sir, with the idea thrown out by the distinguished member from Taunton, Gov. Vorton,) and assented to by the distinguished member from Pittsfield, (Gov. Briggs,) and some other members, that if the people assent to the plurality rule-a rule which gives to less than a majority of all the people the right to govern-it is not a departure from the democratic theory of our government. Suppose the people should assuht to a proposition which should narrow down the right of suffrage to one thousand men in the Commonwealth, would the fact that the people had given their consent to such a proposition make it any less a wide departure from the democratic theory of our government ? Certainly not, Sir, certainly not. The assent of the people to an anti-democratic theory, principle, or system, dous not make that theory, principle, or system, any the less anti-democratic.

Vor is the reference of the gentleman from Taunton, (Gov. Morton,) to the action of other States, assuming to be democratic, any the less unfortunate. If adherence to the majority principle be more in accordance to the democratic idea of our American system, “then,” says the gentleman, “is Massachusetts more democratic than Virginia." Well, Sir, is she not so ? Are not the descendants of the Puritans more truly democratic than the sons of the Cavaliers? Is not this old Commonwealth which recognizes the equality betore the law of the humblest man that breathes the air or walks the earth, of every race and clime, more democratic than a Commonwealth which makes merchandise of more than one-fourth of her sons ? Işnot this old Commonwealth, which gives frec suffrage to all men, more democratic than a Cominonwealth which denies to more than one-fourth of her sons all the rights of man, and which, until quite recently, required a freehold qualification for suffrage, and gave to the landholder the right to vote in several comties at the same election: Sir, there are States that claim to be democratic in the party sense of that word, where the people have not yet learned their first lessous in thatgenuine democracy which recognizes in the humblest man that treads their soil, a man and a brother, whom God made and for whom Christ died. Nowhere on this continent are personal rights more clearly recognized, better detined and more carefully guarded, than in this Commonwealth. I go further. I maintain, Sir, that Massachusetts is, to-day, incomparably more democratic than Virginia, and has been so from the foundation of her government in the cabin of the Mayflower. I maintain, to-day, Sir, and I believe it, and have ever believed it, and I ain proud to believe it, that Massachusetts is the most

I do not, Mr. President, concur in the idea thrown out in this debate by some of my political friends, especially by my friend for Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) that the adoption of the plurality system will destroy the men with whom I act, and with whom he acts. I have no apprehension, no fear whatever. HIere in Massachusetts, I should like to sco a power on earth that could fling us so high that we could not come down on our feet. As a politician, I should agree with the member for Wilbraham, (\Ir. Hallett,) that it would be for my interest, and the interest of the men with whom I act, to have a plurality rule in this Commonwealth. Before three years passes away, I venture to say that those gentlemen who think now that this system is to blot us out, will find they have not won by it. I admonish those gentleinen who anticipate so much pleasure in swallowing up the “ factions," to look well to their own heads when the swallowing process begins.

I oppose the plurality system, because I believe it tends to degradle the polities of the country, and to demoralize the politicians of the country. I think this has been the experience of the country. It has increased the power of the caucus, the convention, party organizations, great combinations, great interests, and the influence of political leaders, and it has diminished the power of the people who follow their higher and better sentiments. Here, as elsewhere, the world over, the sentiments of humanity, of freedom, of progress, have ever sprung from the bosom of the peoplenot from party organizations of interest and ambition. Those great reforms in England since the peace of 1815--Parliamentary Reform, Catholic Emancipation, West India Emancipation, the Corn Laws, and all those measures which have marked the history of England for forty years, have been achieved by the people, not by the public men, for her public men and political parties only yielded when they could no longer resist the pressure of the moral sentiments of the people. It is so on the continent. Reforms spring from the bosom of the masses, and are baffled and checked by combined organization. Just so in our country. Everything that is progressive, that carries us onward in the career of democratic progress, springs from the higher and nobler sentiments of the people who follow their own ideas, rather than the demands of combinations of interest and ambition. I put it to gentlemen of the Convention to say if it be not a "fixed fact,” that very many of our best men, men who are guided by ideas and sentiments, men who follow their moral convictions rather than the banner of political strife, men who want good government and good public officers — do not attend political caucuses and conventions. Now, Sir, if you adopt the plurality system, what will be its practical effect upon these men upon whose moral instincts, liberal tendencies, and unselfish action, the best hopes of the country rest ? Under our majority system,

the political leaders and active politicians who go into caucuses and conventions, know there is a moral power at home-that if they outrage that moral power by putting up an unworthy candidate, or by endorsing an unsound principle, or adopting a selfish policy, that when the day of election comes, the mechanic and the farmer, the men who do not generally meddle with political affairs, will come up to the ballot-box, and will checkmate their policy, defeat their candidate, and arrest them in their career. The majority system gives the men of principles, ideas and sentiments, the power to resist.the schemes of party leaders, and to make them fecl, whenever they enter the caucus and the convention, that they must not outrage the higher sentiments of the best men of their parties. Now, Sir, adopt the plurality rule in all your elections, and you make the caucus and the convention omnipotent; you give full sway to the political chiefs who are controlled by interest and ambition. The whole tendency of the system is to debauch the public sentiment of the country, and to enthrone the omnipotent power of the caucus and the convention. Politicians go into the caucus or the convention, prompted by ambition and interest, adopt their own schemes of policy, and when the day of election comes, and the men who are governed by their higher and better sentiments assemble around the ballot-box, they are told that they must take the “choice of evils," that they must vote for a candidate they know to be unworthy -whose “ nomination was not fit to be made," — or his and their political opponent will be elected. They know the contest must be then and there decided. They feel the pressure. They pause, hesitate, yield, vote for a candidate they know to be unworthy, and go home degraded in their own eyes, and more ready to yield again to the demands of the caucus and the convention. The whole machinery of caucuses and conventions in this country, is one of the worst features of our democratic institutions.

The majority system gives the people the power to checkmate their influence; the plurality system lets them have free course and be gloritied. Sir, I have had during the past fifteen years, some little knowledge of caucuses and conventions, and the more I have seen of the managers of caucuses and conventions, the less I think of them. The more I see of caucuses and conventions, of the strifes of political life, the more I turn to the unbiassed will of the people with hope and confidence. I am a party man; but the more I see of politicians, the more ready I am to concur with the man who said, that the more he saw of others, the better he thought of himself. (Laughter.]

We have lived here in this State, from the foundation of the government, under the majority system. It has its evils, and those evils have been pointed out. There have been recent oecurrences which have changed whole battalions of men with regard to their opinions on this question. My friend from Framingham, talks about his disappointment at sering gentlemen oppose this plurality system. Sir, does he not know that he stands on this floor with gentlemen who have all their lives opposed the plurality rule: The gentleman from Pittsfielti, (Governor Briggs,) implored us not to let the little petty interests of party govern us in our decision. What, but the little petty interests of party, has wrought this sudden and miraculous conversion, which has

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ELECTIONS BY PLURALITY.- WILSOX - SCHOULER.

(May 27th.

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changed that gentleman and l.ix poltical assxiates when "lis untia rd opinion, his mature jude- 1 field, and it was prolidik that the people in the from opponents to advocates of this new system: ment, his endinilatened conscience cannot unction Suate would not be alse to give a majority for llave not recent occurrences cifiried this cunnge: tie policy of his probati al a kiater, he will not et et of t. e'm, what did tiey do: Wny, at the Are not these occurrences of a political nature: heid tilat dulusive cry of "the choice of evils" Last stwion, the y brouzit a bill into the Senate I commend the advice of the gentleman from now so potent.il, for he knows that the majority to repeal le plurality law, alt ough the legislaPittstield, to the consideration of his political systein will allow him to rebuke the toliy ot his ture was cletud wit out any ntt rence to that friends. I hope the majority princi; le, to which i political friends, without devating to power l.is particular question. Te rejaal of that law was Maxsachusetts has adiared from the foundation of political puents. I fully bul.eve that the advocated in the blouse of Repre-citatives also. her government up to this hour, is not to be n toration of the ma ority principle would lenen It was finally withdrawn, or dial on the table. abandoned now, to meet the demands of the the power of the Cullus and the convention, If this annendment is adoj teil, the same thing “ little, pretty interests of party" under the pres- chasten ambition and interent, and give freer can be done every four year; whenever it shall sure of a present temporary inconvenience. scope to the moral sentiments of t..e people. Yes, le found that it will be for the benefit of any

My friend from llaverhill, ( Mr. Hill,) told us Sir, its restoration would give the people in their party to repeal the plurality princij le they will yesterday, that the Committee, of which he is a primary aestublier, far greuter power and control do it and tirow into the legislature the great member, had hesitated about reporting in favor of over jullie afluirs, and over public men, and t'at question of deciding who shull vote for a presielecting officers by the people, until this que-t102 power and control woull be for the advancement dent for the next four years, is settled. I'ray, Sir, wny should that Committee of popular rights, democratic ideas and sentiments. Sir, I do not wish to give the legislature of this be governed in their action by the decision of this Jir. SCIOULER, of Boston. I am very much State, or of any other State, any power like it. I question? I assure the gentleman from Ilaver- surprised at the tone of remarks made by the gen. I wish to have the question decided by the people, hill, and t'e gentlemen with whom he is a s()- tleman from Natiek, (Mr. Wilson,) and I am as they decide who they will have for presidential ciated on the Committee, t'at I am in favor of the sorry that the debate w ich has been carried on electors; and, Sir, the people were satirtied with election of every civil otheer lige tre people where for two or three days wit zout reference to party, it, and did not desire that it should be broug'it beit is practical·le. I would destruy all the patronale should, at this late stare of it, have party inter- fore the beginlature of the State. They did not of the executive of the state and nation, if I could exty brou <ht in for consideration. The gentleman want a question referred to t'ie legislature w..ch

I never wish to see any man walking up has talked about democracy, democracy and de- they were not chected to decide, because it might the steps of this capitul to a-k for otiice at the inocracy, and nothing but democracy.

open the door for corruption. It may have haphands of the executive. The whole system of Mr. WILSON. I wish the gentleman to un- pened, and it may happen again, that the electoral executive patronage is depraling and corrupting, der-tand that in the use of the word democracy, I vote of Massachusetts, may decide who shall be and it should be restricted and limited.

Look at have not used it in any party sene whatever, but president and vice-president of the l'nited States the changes that have taken place in the politics in the America sense, without reference to any for four years. The gentleman has referred to the of the country during the laut sixteen years, in creeds or existing parties,

vant patronage of that power, and yet he advocates consequence of disppointments growing out of Mr. SCIIOILER. The gentleman said he an amendment which, if we were to adopt it, the patronage of the government. Administra- was a democratie democrat, and that a democratic Į would plare the whole of that patronage in the tions have been wrecked by it. A great purty has democrat was so very democratic that the more | hands of a few members of the legislature of just come into power, and a wild rush is made for

he mingled with the people the less he thoug!it Massachu-etts, because then the question would place and patronage. I should not be surprised of them, and the more he thought of himself. If be decided by two or three men who should be to see that alministration weakened and over- that is democratic democracy, it is not that which president of the I'nited States ; and the " spoils," thrown by the action of disappointed applicants I wish to uphold. The more I have mingled the fifty millions of dollars, would afford means for executive patronage. Giovernmental patron- with the people the more I like them, and the to buy up, if necessary, the electoral vote of age in the state and nation has a tendency to cor- less I think of myself; although I do not wish to Massachusetts, for one or the other candidate for rupt and weaken any party which has ideas and call myself a democrat or any party man. I the presidency. Now I wish to keep all such principles it wishes to carry out.

It is the duty probably stand here with as little political prefer- considerations out of view. It seems to me that of this Convention to give to the people the elec- ence as any man in this body. The gentleman if members of the Convention will only reflect a tion of officers where it is practicable to do so, and says he has mingled in caucuses ; so have I, but moment upon the subject, they will see how I hope the gentleman from Ilaverhill and his I repeat that I stand here as free from party feel- much wrong might be committed under that state associates will so report.

ing as any man; and I am sorry that any party of things Let us give the proposition to the peoGentlemen have spoken of the repeated trials question has been brought in here. I hope that ple, whether they wish to elect their officers by the for members of congress. We have a provision before we adjourn we will discard it, and that plurality system or not, and if they decide in favor now-which no one proposes to change that on when we take the vote, if we take it to-night, we of it, I presume no one will desire to oppose the the second trial a plurality shall elect. If gentle- shall not consider anything of a party nature, but will of the people; but if they decide aguinst it men who advocate the plurality rule, will consent shall vote on the resolution without any reference then we have the Constitution remaining in its to have the governor, lieutenant-governor, the whatever to party.

present form and no harm is done. secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and at- I should not have risen but for the amendment The gentleman from Natiek, (Mr. Wilson,) has torney-general, if we shall decide, as I hope we proposed by my friend from Framingham; and I said a great deal about democracy, about the peoshall, to elect them--and the Senate and Ilouse must say that I am surprised that such an amend- ple of the l’nited States being republicans, and by the majority system, I am willing to agree that ment has been proposed. The very thing we about our living under a republican government; all vacancies occasioned by failures to clect sena- want to do is to take that kind of caucusing out and he also says that there can be no republican tors or representatives at the annual election, shall

of the legislature. What he wishes is, that the government without the majority principle--that be filled at a second trial by a plurality of votes,

people shall decide at any time, whether officers the principle that the majority shall rule is an and that county and municipal officers shall be shall be elected by a majority or a plurality. I essential feature of a republican government. elected by the plurality rule. This will do away wish to give the legislature no such power. If But, Sir, he knows, and every man of common with the trouble and inconvenience complained there is anything in this country that we should sense in this body knows, that in something like of, and at the same time give the people an oppor- put into the ('onstitution, it is the way and man- twenty-five States of this l'nion, elections are held tunity to express at the polls their own convic

ner in which our electors and governors shall be under the plurality law. The gentleman repretions of duty.

elected. We passed an act a year or two ago in senting Wilbraham, also told us that there was no Mr. President, I would, if I had the power, order to bring this thing to a practical test, for the republican government where the majority did restore the majority principle in all the States of

election of electors by a plurality; and that was not rule. Sir, I wish to ask that gentleman and the Union. Protected by that democratic prin

satisfactory to the people, in my judgment, and is the gentleman from Xatick, whether we live unciple, every man may well say, in the words of

satisfactory to them now. And yet the gentle- der a republican government? Is not the United Edmund Burke, to the electors of Bristol, that man who talks so much against caucuses and

States a republic, when it is expressly declared in “ Ilis unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his

those who act with him, after the different cau- the Constitution of the l'nited States, that there

cuses had made their nominations, or after it was enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice

xhall be no other kind of government except to any man, or to any set of men living.” Then, probable there would be three candidates in the

republican government? Does he mean to say,

a

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